Our aim was to elucidate the contribution of mucosal mast cells to the effector phase of a secondary immune response to Trichinella spiralis. During secondary infection, rats expel 90-99% of T. spiralis first-stage larvae from the intestine in a matter of hours. This phenomenon appears to be unique to rats and has been called rapid expulsion. Primary intestinal infection by T. spiralis induces mastocytosis, and mast cell degranulation occurs when challenged rats exhibit rapid expulsion. These observations have engendered the view that mast cells mediate rapid expulsion. In this study, we report that. immunization of adult Albino Oxford rats by an infection limited to the muscle phase did not induce intestinal mastocytosis, yet such rats exhibited rapid expulsion when challenged orally. Although mastocytosis was absent, the protease unique to mucosal mast cells, rat mast cell protease II (RMCPII), was detected in sera at the time of expulsion. We further evaluated mast cell activity in neonatal rats that display rapid expulsion. Pups born to infected dams displayed rapid expulsion, and RMCPII was detected in their sera. By feeding pups parasite-specific mAbs or polyclonal Abs before challenge infection, it was possible to dissociate mast cell degranulation from parasite expulsion. These results indicate that rapid expulsion can occur in the absence of either intestinal mastocytosis or RMCPII release. Furthermore, release of RMCPII is not sufficient to cause expulsion. The data argue against a role for mast cells in the mechanism underlying the effector phase of protective immunity against T. spiralis in rats.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy